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FOSS in Education in Guyana
 

FOSS in Education in Guyana

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    FOSS in Education in Guyana FOSS in Education in Guyana Presentation Transcript

    • Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Education : A Guyana Perspective Lenandlar Singh & Malcolm Williams Department of Computer Science University of Guyana E-Conference Presentation – August 13, 2011
    • Limitation • Preliminary Study – more in-depth investigation and analysis to determine the success and inhibiting factors of the acceptance and use of FOSS in Guyana is forthcoming
    • Outline of Presentation • Motivation • Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) • FOSS in Education Perspectives • FOSS in Development • Research Methodology • Results • Discussion • Recommendations and Conclusion • References
    • Motivation • Identify level of FOSS usage in Education in Guyana • Identify policies and plans for future use • Propose an approach for integration of FOSS in Education
    • Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) Richard Stallman[1] – Founder of the Free Software Movement [2] • pioneered “copyleft” – “ … a general method for making a program (or other work) free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well” [3] • advocate for free software • campaign against DRMs, Software Patents
    • Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) Linus Torvalds – Creator of Linux Kernel (M.Sc. thesis was titled Linux : A Portable Operating System.) [2] •Torvalds believes [2] ▫“open source is the only right way to do software“ ▫ use the "best tool for the job", even if that includes proprietary software
    • Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) FLOSS Proprietary Software Linux Windows OpenOffice MS Office Mozilla Firefox Internet Explorer GIMP Photoshop Moodle Blackboard Apache IIS
    • Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) • “Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.” [3] • Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program's users have the four essential freedoms: ▫ The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0). ▫ The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this. ▫ The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2). ▫ The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
    • FOSS in Education Perspectives •Students and Educators must develop the spirit of freedom of choice •FOSS promotes this freedom •FOSS helps to foster creativity – make and break software like toys, develop problem solving skills, critical thinking skills, software- engineering skills [4] {constructivist} • Develop Spirit of Community , sharing, exchanging ideas, etc {connectivist} •Development of Science – Development of Foss is Analogous to the development of science [5] •Modern Student is Freedom-seeking? ▫Leave home early ▫Choose what they want to learn, use, do ▫etc
    • FOSS in Development •Independence – no dependency on particular technologies or countries [6] •Development of local ICT industry and capacity •Foster Innovation - alternative method of creating and dissemination knowledge •Cost Savings –initial acquisition + licenses + less expensive hardware (TCO) • An Approach to manage Piracy
    • Research Methodology • Document check for Policies, Plans and Programs • Questionnaire developed mailed to selected FOSS users • Semi-structured interviewed done with officials from Ministry of Education and other Education institutions. Questions centered around the following themes: ▫ Questions on ICT Strategy, Policy and IT Governance ▫ FOSS Policy and Usage ▫ Future Plans for FOSS use ▫ FOSS in Curriculum ▫ Attitude towards FOSS ▫ Issues with Implementing and Using FOSS
    • Findings •Strategy and Policy ▫National Level – Guyana National ICT Strategy Document (2006) [10] ▫“Explore the use of Free and Open Source Software” ▫“National Agencies and the ICT education sector should strongly consider appropriate open source solutions” ▫“To Develop and Implement strategies to integrate ICT into the Education and training system” “include open-source in the ICT curriculum”
    • Findings •Strategy and Policy ▫Ministries of Government level – each Ministry is left on their own to decide ICT direction. No drive from the top. Use what is available. ▫Ministry of Education Level Strategic Plan of MOE comprises 7 strategic areas – one of which focuses exclusively on ICTs ▫School Level Each school is left to decide what software to use – depend on available skill. No directive from MOE. No Policy on FOSS
    • Findings • Schools level ▫ Core Platform is MS ▫ Schools however can choose what goes on top ▫ Teachers are free to experiment [ constrained by platform]  MOE Administrators Level  Use MS/Commercial Software predominantly  More MS skill available for MS support and technical issues  Easier to build app from scratch than customize [ skill level]
    • Findings •Curriculum ▫ICT Teachers Competency Framework – UNESCO ▫Use Commercial/Purchased Software (not pirated) ▫Buy all software needed. ▫All Software must be licensed ▫No training specifically on FOSS tools ▫No specific focus on FOSS in the National IT Curriculum (CXC included FOSS in Syllabi a few years ago(circa 2006) upon a proposal made by a number of ICT professionals in the Caribbean) [11] ▫Concern about cost of Training for FOSS given all teachers already familiar with MS – why change when what we have works?
    • Findings • Views of FOSS ▫ Have constraints – limits what can/cannot be done ▫ Needs national drive – one Ministry alone cannot push a platform ▫ Believes in best from FOSS and Proprietary – “freedom for schools is important” ▫ Believes commitment is lacking – Government should push ▫ Needs a standardizing body ▫ Needs a national discourse
    • Findings •Implementation and Infrastructure ▫60% commercial, 40% in-house developed; 95% MS, 5% Linux servers ▫Have implemented some tools, but not platform – still MS, ▫No change of platform in near future ▫Not enough tools for individual subjects – MOE has deployed Success Maker (Primary School level) countrywide (runs on MS) ▫Teachers receive training from NCERD (MOE Division) on Moodle ▫MOE have limited FOSS capacity ▫Entertain FOSS where there’s minimum implementation needs ▫Policy and strategy driven by each new manager
    • Findings – Three (3) National Projects •Commonwealth supports ICT teacher training in Guyana ▫“Last year[2010] the Secretariat, COL and Microsoft signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) to implement UNESCO’s ICT Competence Framework for Teachers, an internationally recognised framework to promote ICT education” [7] •“One Laptop Per Family” ▫Government of Guyana will distribute, starting from October, 2011, 90 ,000 Laptops to families over the next 5 years [8] – MOE does not have a direct say on how project could be maximized. Hoping to work with team to meet MOE’s goals • Ministry of Education, Guyana, will equip schools across the country with 1400 desktop computers etc to the cost of 223M Guyana Dollars. According to the Minister of Education ▫ “the project is in keeping with the Ministry’s support of the One Laptop Per Family (OLPF) Programme since it will see the children passing their knowledge on to their families and there are plans underway for the government to use several of the schools as training hubs for the OLPF programme” [9]
    • Findings •Other Experiences ▫BrainStreet Technologies – http://www.brainstreetlearning.com Reduce start up cost Software development tools available ▫Limited by what customers want, lots of MS demand ▫Cost clients more in the long run – training, maintenance etc E-learning (runs on Moodle) ▫IDCE, UG - http://uog.edu.gy/schools/idce/ Offers distance education courses using Moodle ▫Global Technology - http://www.gtechweb.com/ Plans to offer Linux training by limited/NO interest
    • Findings •Other Experiences cont’d ▫Devnet - http://www.devnet.org.gy/ NGO – promotes use of FOSS Implemented LTSP community project – no longer available Advocacy Limited FOSS consulting ▫GLUG - http://www.glug.org.gy/ Free training Advocacy ▫UG ,CS Department - http://csi.uog.edu.gy/ Uses FOSS for teaching Encourage FOSS Entrepreneurship and software development Use FOSS tools for R&D;
    • Discussion • Policy to embrace FOSS exist at the National Level but no obvious and meaningful change is visible. ▫Why?  Incumbent solutions are easier to work with, no need to change. Existing approach to national ICT projects does not EXPLICITLY demand the use of FOSS. All hardware comes with software arrangements and that is usually MS/Proprietary products. Again, why change what works? All three (3) cases highlighted previously have adopted this strategy. Change to FOSS is potentially a lengthy process . This may not be in the best political interest of those responsible. Further, path-of-least-resistance and a safe option approach may influence this process. In our political landscape, risk- taking may result in criticism . However, traditional approaches are also criticized.
    • Discussion •What is special about Guyana? ▫ Small and the political environment means it is risky for decision makers to do “new” things. Forced into “must-win” choices all the time or lose votes and popularity ▫Short term gains and quick implementations appear to guide/lead decision to stick to existing tools. This is natural but a gradual, lightweight approach is likely to gain buy-in, allowing for experimentation, learning from experiences without high risks and disruption ▫Strong leadership is necessary – allow bottom-up approach to solution development while providing support, guidance and policies from the top- down.
    • Discussion • Ministry of Education ▫ Diffusion and Penetration of FOSS appears to be hindered by clear policy directions. Even though there’s guidance from the National ICT Policy, the Ministry is free to take its own approach. ▫ Emerging evidence of donor lock-in also appears to influence diffusion but even when the existing platform is MS, FOSS tools can still be deployed. Support from sponsored initiatives with Proprietary support is also a limiting factor. In the Guyana case, training for teachers was dominated by a MS-supported initiative ▫ Limited Technical capacity is a major factor preventing the MOE from pushing FOSS. Most of the technical capacity is MS-based. Migration of trained Linux/FOSS professionals is a national issue. In addition, Linux professionals are in high demand and are inevitably attracted to the private sector.
    • Discussion • Schools and Curriculum ▫ Most teachers are already MS-trained and given that the curriculum does not absolutely need FOSS to be taught, teachers have little incentive to change. ▫ High turn-over rate, along with the demand for ICT-skills mean that the school system is left to compete with the private sector. Incentive-wise, this is a challenge for Education Systems. ▫ Even though adopting FOSS could be staged (use, create, customize), higher level FOSS adoption (creating and customizing) calls for advanced technical skills on the part of the teacher. On the other hand, the best ICT-skilled personnel may not be attracted to teaching. This is a major challenge for education system.
    • Recommendations and Conclusion A Three-Prong Strategy • 1. Government Level – Lead with Definitive Policies on FOSS and ENGAGE with the Promotion of FOSS nationally. Encourage FOSS usage in Government and Create a forum for national discourse on FOSS • 2. Support and Strengthen NGOs To ASSIST Small Business Development. Provide Incentives for adoption and use. Develop and Promote FOSS Entrepreneurship • 3. Ministry of Education via Schools MUST embrace FOSS. Make it a part of the curriculum along with Proprietary. Use lightweight approaches to FOSS introduction in the education system. Engage in Professional Teacher Development. Provide Incentives for early adopters.
    • References • [1] Richard Stallman. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman • [2] Linus Torvalds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linus_Torvalds • [3] The Free Software Definition. Accessed August 12, 2011. Available at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html • [4] Morelli, R. et al. (2009). Revitalizing computing education Through • free and open source software for humanity. Communications of the ACM, 52(8), 67-75. • [5] Pfaffman, P. (2008). Transforming High School Classrooms with Free/Open Source Software: It’s Time for an Open Source Software Revolution. The High School Journal, 25-31 • [6] Garcia-Perez, A. et al. (2006). Imperatives of Free and Open Source Software in Cuban Development. formation Technologies and International Development, 3(1), 1-17
    • References • [7] Commonwealth supports ICT teacher training in Guyana Available at: http://www.thecommonwealth.org/news/235360/250311iguyanateachers. htm • [8] One Laptop Per Family (OLPF). Available at: http://www.olpf.gov.gy • [9] Education Ministry, Digital Technologies sign $223M contract. Available at: http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2011/07/14/education- ministry-digital-technologies-sign-223m-contract/ • [10] Guyana National ICT Strategy. Available at: http://www.ict4d.gov.gy/ictstrategy/ICT4D_Strategy_FinalDraft.pdf • [11] Inclusion of FOSS in CXC Syllabi at CSEC and CAPE. Available at: http://glug.org.gy/content/inclusion-foss-cxc- syllabi-csec-and-cape
    • End of Presentation